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Research-Based Continuous Improvement Information Process:


The
second part of the overall reengineering process at LCCC was to begin moving
LCCS toward a data-driven organization. One critical component of a data-driven
organization is assessing satisfaction among internal and external constituents
through a variety of survey approaches. The Joint Center
for Policy Research (JCPR) in the Public Services Institute was engaged to
design and deliver an overall continuous feedback process. Target populations
were identified as LCCS personnel, LCCS board members, active clients,
closed-case clients (protective and intake), foster parents, adoptive parents,
permanent custody children, community agencies, and guardians-ad-litem(GAL).


As
with the leadership development component, the research component developed
specific design parameters that are important for any agency to consider:


·      
JCPR would not draw any conclusions
about findings nor provide any recommendations. Quarterly and aggregate reports
resulting from all of the satisfaction surveys would provide direct information
for LCCS.


·      
JCPR would not use any information
gathered for LCCS for any other purpose or research efforts.


·      
Participants would be randomly selected
with absolutely no knowledge or control by LCCS over who would be selected on
behalf of LCCS.


·      
All JCPR interviewers would sign
confidentiality agreements and participate in a criminal background check
conducted by LCCS.


·      
The specified number of completed
interviews by target population would be dependent upon the number and
reliability of listings provided to JCPR by LCCS.


·      
Where interviewers would hear formal
complaints by LCCS clients, clients would be asked if they would like to speak
directly with the LCCS ombudsman. Any person desiring to speak to the ombudsman
would be forwarded via e-mail to the LCCS Executive Director and in writing to
the Ombudsman.


The
feedback process includes both active and closed cases. Active cases include
clients currently working with the agency and closed cases include those cases
within a 30-day time period since “closing.” Active cases are
surveyed on a monthly basis and include approximately 10 active cases per
month, using both telephone and in-person survey techniques. Important to note
is that individuals may not be randomly sampled more than once every four
months. For closed cases, approximately 20 clients per month are interviewed
via telephone. For any agency engaging in this type of work, the bottom line is
to make sure that you are securing a scientific sample of your populations.
(Figure 5.1 shows more detail about the populations included and


interviewing
frequency.)












Gathering
the data, of course, leads to reporting the data. Quarterly reports are
provided to the agency and data are aggregated at 6 month intervals for greater
statistical reliability in longitudinal comparisons. In addition, data are
aggregated on an annual basis to create a summary of findings. For any agency
just starting out in a feedback process, it is critical to understand that
being able to see patterns and draw reliable conclusions means on-going
collection of data over significant time periods. In other words, this type of
data-driven system will require a long-term commitment both of time and resources.
However, it insures that decisions will be made based upon reliable information
and helps to support two legs of the strategic triangle: value creation and
enhancing the authorizing environment.


For
those who have provided information through the interviews, it is important to
close the feedback loop with them. Through providing reports and having
conversations about the data, stakeholders know that their voices are being
heard and that the information is meaningful. Consider the following points when
thinking through the closing of the feedback loop:


·      
The framework for closing the feedback
loop should include not only “You spoke,” “We listened,”
and “Here are some things you said as a group,” but also “This
is how the agency is addressing your input.”


·      
Methods for closing the feedback loop
should be considered separately for each target population.


·      
Approaches to closing the loop should
consider invitation to all of the individuals and organizations that have
provided feedback.


·      
When issues are identified, an
opportunity should be extended for individuals to participate in a strategy
development session so that they become an integral part of the solution.





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